Summer is the best season, amIright?! Hello, just ask Olaf. Speaking of Olaf…how many times did you watch him and his pals? How many practices, sporting events, band happenings, choir concerts, or school plays did you attend? HOW MUCH LAUNDRY DID YOU WASH? (Bonus points if you only washed the same load once.) How many diapers did you change? Sister girls. We have earned this! Let’s do it. Let’s leave the kiddos behind and have a Mama’s Only Summer Bucket List. I will share mine with you if you pinky promise to share yours with me, and we can all collectively promise each other to actually get around to accomplishing them.
1. Weekend Trip to Charleston, SC
From the age of 14 until well into adulthood, I vacationed in Charleston, SC every year. After a few vacationless years (because: kids) my ex-husband and I decided to take Maddox (then 3) and Walker (then a year and some change) to Charleston. Let me be the first to let you in on a little secret: you really haven’t lived until you utter the sentence, “Son, please pick your $70 pork chop up off the floor.” Charleston apparently is better suited for those who can walk on their own and who don’t find it hilarious to pull your tube top maxi dress down to your bellybutton on King Street. I HAVE to get back there this summer. At only 5 to 6 hours away from Knoxville, it is literally the most perfect little get away for you and the girls, you and the man-friend, or you trying to get your Elizabeth Gilbert on and fly solo. I have linked my absolute favorite place to stay here.
2. Dressing Downton at Biltmore
I can only liken what came over me when I saw the first of many dresses worn by Lady Mary (aka Michelle Dockery) to the hysteria teenage girls in the 1960s experienced when The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. If you’re as obsessed with Downton as I am, you will want to get to Asheville before this exhibit goes away on May 25th. I have to see it again. Not to mention, who doesn’t just adore Biltmore? Everything there is so peaceful and perfectly orchestrated; every time I’m there I feel like I stepped into a different world. In the words of the Dowager Countess, “At my age, I have to ration my excitement.” I am probably rationing about 2/3 of mine for this.
3. Slide the City
I mean. A giant slip and slide without grandma giving you side eye for pushing the small children out of the way? Yes please.
4. Farmers’ markets
There are two really great ones in our area: Marble Springs and Market Square. My great grandparents were diary farmers and sold milk, cheeses, wild flowers, and butter in the old market house on Market Square. I love feeling so linked to the past when I support other local farmers today. Plus, maybe I am crazy here, but does it not just taste better when you know what you’re eating is fresh and local? I swear I can taste a difference in farmers’ market produce versus produce from my grocery cart. Kiddos are optional here, but I cannot be to blame when one or both of your tiny accomplices go feral and take a bite out of a tomato before trying to put it back unseen like the little street urchin from Aladdin. Not that we have done that. I just heard…from a friend…or something.
5. Dollywood/Dolly’s Splash Country
I love to see my babies’ faces light up as they ride the same ride over and over again at Dollywood. I love to see the joy in their sweet little eyes as they wade around in 6 inches of water at the various kiddie areas at Splash Country. But you know what else I like? Going upside down, flying backwards, thinking I’m probably going to die on whatever thrill ride I’m on, and going so fast down a slide that my mom bikini bottoms inevitably turn into swimwear that is only moderately acceptable in Europe. Get your girlfriends, get a funnel cake, and get to screaming your head off. I have a SuperPass, so I can get into both parks all year. But if you BST on local yard sale sites, there are always awesome deals on day passes. Also, if you’re a Sevier County resident, take advantage of Sevier County Days and get in for $5.
I will be grabbing my girls and grabbing my bikini bottoms out of my lady parts at some point this summer. Join me, won’t you?
6. Clean out the clutter!
Remember that episode of Friends when Chandler unlocks Monica’s messy closet, and the normally obsessively neat woman everyone loves revealed as a little bit of a hoarder? Brace yourselves. Like honestly, sit down. This is my utility room:
I have been meaning to have a yard sale for, oh, about 60 years now. I’ve also been meaning to tackle the toys in my kids’ rooms that range from McDonald’s Happy Meal fare to the light up infant variety…the formals I wore in college or the prom dresses I wore when my quarterback boyfriend and I went to prom…furniture that was outdated in my dorm…the stack of magazines nearly as tall as the couch…follow me here. Just like Mrs. Gellar-Bing, I too am a little bit of a hoarder.
7. Tackle my reading list
Last summer I read Gone Girl in about 6 minutes. Then I read Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Then I needed an adult because I felt like a crazy person. (That’s A LOT of twisting, turning, cray cray to process in 2 weeks, y’all.) There is almost nothing better than sitting outside devouring a good book. Currently, there are 20+ titles on my list, and although I know that I cannot possibly get through all of them, I’d like to try.
Also the magazines. SO. Many. Magazines.
8. Cades Cove
I am more of the drive and pull over variety, but there is so much to do around that 11 mile loop. I love seeing the barns, houses, and churches from our ancestors. I also love my air conditioning, so bike and hike on, you motivated mamas, you.
Get on Pinterest and do the things. Maybe not all of the things. But do some of the things. At least 3 projects. However big or small. That’s my goal at least.
10. Dem babies
I know. I said this was a list for moms and moms only…but what would our mom lives be without spending time with our kiddos? If I had to pick favorite summer memories, hands down, one of the best things ever in the history of things that are great, would be tired sweaty babies who smell like outside and have played so hard and happy they’re begging to go to sleep at 7pm. The sound of children laughing is such a wonderful phenomenon; how great is it when the voices making those sweet laughs belong to you? Summer is a time to indulge and to log time with friends and significant others, but summer is such a great time to spread out a blanket and revel in the tiny humans who made you mommies in the first place.
Enjoy it, sister girls. And don’t forget to tell me your bucket lists! Bring it on, summer!